Kerry wins 'battle of blue bloods' Mass. senator wins easily after duel with governor

Kerry vs. Weld

Election 1996

November 06, 1996|By Sandy Banisky | Sandy Banisky,SUN NATIONAL STAFF

BOSTON -- After a fierce campaign that was dubbed the "battle of the blue bloods," Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry won a third Senate term with surprising ease last night, defeating the state's popular Gov. William F. Weld, a moderate Republican.

Polls had called the race a dead heat right down to election eve. But Kerry won by a wider margin than expected, 53 percent to 44 percent.

"I'm not stupid. I got the message," Weld said in an exuberant, gracious concession speech. "The message is: I'm a real good governor and I should stick to that."

Kerry, pumping his fist in the air, quoted the Grateful Dead, one of Weld's favorite bands: "What a long, strange trip this has been," the senator said.

In the campaign, Kerry said, "I learned more from all of you -- about you, about politics and about myself -- than in any run I have ever made. I will be a much better senator in the next six years because of those lessons."

Like Bob Dole, Weld apparently was plagued by a gender gap. Women voters by a wide margin favored Kerry, who talked about education, health care and the environment. Weld focused on crime, taxes and welfare reform.

The race between two patrician candidates -- Weld graduated from Harvard, Kerry from Yale -- was one of the most closely watched in the country.

Kerry, a Vietnam War hero who came home to organize Vietnam Veterans Against the War in the early 1970s, was viewed as the more distant of the candidates.

The amiable Weld is a fiscal conservative who is progressive on social issues.

Pub Date: 11/06/96

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